Why is it that many people who play Magic: The Gathering take a break? Some say they take a break due to the money involved. Some say its due to a significant other. As for me, it was due to my moving away from those I played with.
After about five years away from Magic, I have become a better player. I have been back in the game for almost three years now. I have learned more and have been able to advance my play style better then when I played before.
When I learned to play magic, over 20 years ago, my play group included my family and a few of my friends. My older brother was by far the better player. He had learned from co-workers and friends how to improve his game. The rest of us just didn’t “get it” at the time. We played to beat each other and built decks with only our few opponents in mind. I had played at a few stores and never did well. It was just about the fun of the game, and not the competition. I don’t feel that there is anything wrong with this, you just don’t improve.
I’m not really sure what set was out when I stopped playing. I had to move, and my cards stayed behind with my friends. I would stop at the local game store in my new town, but never bought any cards. Eventually, I moved again and this time, when I stopped in at the game store, I bought me a Deckbuilder’s tool kit. It wasn’t much, although enough, to reignite my spark. I went to a few Friday Night Magic games, still no luck at winning. I started listening to a few podcast, and started talking about magic with some of the people that I played with. to get ideas for better decks.
Then, out of the blue, I realized something; I saw the game in a different way. I started to notice when to play cards and when to wait. I started to see the synergy in the cards. I started to see combo pieces in the cards. I started to notice the different ways my opponents played, and how to use their play style against them. These are thing that I never would have seen before my “Magic Break”. If I had not taken my leave of absence from this game, I don’t think I would have ever changed the way I played.
Now, I go to FMN with a tested deck. I go to see if I can get first place. I have become a much better player, and I have my break to thank for it. I have the people that helped me as I got back into the game to thank for it. Having a new play group helped me realize my new view of the cards. Magic has become a whole new game to me, and I found a new way to enjoy it. I still play for fun. I still enjoy the casual game, whether I win or lose. But now, I am also able to enjoy the high amount of competition that Magic has to offer.
So… if you find yourself on a “Magic Break”, remember that Magic will be here for you when you return. It will be the game you remember and it will be better. Not only will the Game be better, but so will you. Take the break that most players feel they need. But don’t venture off too far, we are waiting for your return. I hope to see you on the battlefield of a FNM, PPTQ, or Grand Prix in the future.